ESOL in Goochland County

Just another Goochland County Schools Blogs Sites site

ESOL in Goochland County - Just another Goochland County Schools Blogs Sites site

New Volunteer for the High School

I want to welcome a new ESOL volunteer to the Goochland High School volunteer program. Rebecca, a talented local architect, has offered to tutor a high school ESOL student once a week in Geometry.

Rebecca boasts of a three year experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language in Mexico. In addition this this experience, she already has made personal connections to ESOL families in the Goochland community. Recently, she has organized a “Coffee and Conversation” event in which she meets with several Hispanic mothers in the Goochland Community who need to improve their English speaking skills.

Thank you so very much Rebecca for your time and consideration toward ensuring that my Goochland ESOL student meets her academic goals.  Also, thank you for also devoting your time to working with Hispanic families so that we can bridge language barriers, thus helping these individuals to become contributing members of our community!

JROTC and ESOL

Following is a picture of my high school ESOL student who is proudly part of the Goochland High School JROTC program. I want to give a special thanks to Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Daniel Strong, who both have a background working with ESOL students in their prior school system. Both JROTC staff have already helped me, as ESOL teacher, and were instrumental in helping this ESOL student to adapt to school culture and understand appropriate social skills and interactions during his first year in a U.S. High School. They have also been instrumental in helping me meet the learning goals on my student’s Individual Instruction Plan (IIP) under the category of “Social Instruction” which involves the listening skill of following simple commands pertaining to classroom routines using illustrations (e.g., “Close your book.”)

Thanks to the JROTC program at Goochland Highschool, which serves not only one ESOL student, but many other former English Language Proficient students, several of which have shared with me their hopes to join the U.S. military when they graduate.

ACCESS Testing; Prueba de ACCESS

GES, GMS, and GHS will be starting ACCESS for ELLs Summative Assessment testing from February 2nd to February 20th, 2015. For more information on the ACCESS test, please click this following link to WIDA.com

GES, GMS, y GHS tendrán las pruebas de evaluación sumativa de los estudiantes ELL a 2 de febrero hasta el 20 de febrero, 2015. Para obtener más información sobre la prueba de acceso, por favor haga clic en el siguiente enlace para WIDA.com

SMART Goals and Reading Comprehension

Our school has been tying our SMART Goals into our student data which is connected to MAP scores (Northwest Evaluation Association). Each of my students take a Fall pretest and create a projected RIT goal based on their own progress. The Reading data has goals performances which focus on the three categories:

1). Word Origins, Expand Vocabulary, Semantics.

2) Comprehension of a Variety of Fictional Texts.

3). Comprehension of a Variety of Nonfiction texts.

Goal performance #1 is connected to goals 2 and 3. Without knowledge of word origins, vocabulary and the semantics, students will not be able to comprehend what they read.

Following are some of the activities that I’ve chosen to do to enrich reading skills with my ESOL students in the Middle School and High School. Vocabulary comprehension is key for my students, and for this reason, here the following activities we have completed throughout this past semester.

1). Focus on Cognates. We have a word wall in my classroom in which we have compiled as we read through texts and passages. All my students are Spanish speaking, so we are constantly referring back to their L1 to make analogies to the Latin words and how they compare to the English words.

2). Focus on Parts of Speech. Earlier in the year, all my students created a Parts of Speech handbook delineating and writing examples of parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions). When we talk about vocabulary in a text, we always refer back to our handbook to decide which part of speech the word belongs to. We record the words on a word wall-in categories by their part of speech.

3). Focus on Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots. I have printed off DOE handouts which are taped to my student’s tables and are in the back of their ESOL folders. We constantly break apart the words we learn (after deciding what part of speech they are). We will change a word around and decided how the suffix changes the part of speech. For example, to oppress is a verb, oppression is a noun, and he is oppressed is an adjective. Here is an example of the sheets my students refer to from scholastic.com

4). Focus on Reading Comprehension strategies. Many of the activities come from the Virginia Department of Education English Enhanced Scope and Sequence Sample Lesson Plans. I’ve tweaked some of the activities to make them my own. For example, finding context clues in a story, we use sticky notes as we read. Students record the following on their sticky notes:

  • Difficult Word
  • Context clue(s)
  • ? (what do I think it means)
  • Definition: I provide the definition or we look the word up in their dictionary.

5). Focus on Dictionary Skills. My ESOL students must learn dictionary skills if they are going to conquer the SOL tests (paper-back dictionaries are only permitted). When we are participating in reading activities, I daily remind students to look up words in their dictionary. Using the paper-back dictionary requires numerous amount of skills (analytical skills are required to find the word, identifying prefixes/suffixes of the word, and decide which parts of speech we are looking for).

6). Focus on Applying Vocabulary to Sentences. I truly believe that vocabulary is best learned in context of a passage/text. In the same vein of thought, vocabulary must be used and written in a sentence. I can truly evaluate if a student understands the vocabulary word when they can use it correctly in a sentence. They demonstrate that they understand the semantics and the syntax.

Understanding vocabulary holistically and it’s complexities is directly tied into reading comprehension. For this reason, these are just a few of the strategies I have utilized to help my ESOL students this semester.

 

Enabling Future Generations; Spotlighting Mr. Rohrer

Currently, I teach ESOL students K-12 in Goochland County, in addition to working with non-English students at our Prep Academy. ESOL students at our Prep Academy work on GED coursework, an Edgenuity course which provides tutorials and GED coursework in their first language -Spanish.

How do I do this? Frankly, I couldn’t address all the needs of my ESOL students without the help of ESOL volunteers and tutors. Many of these individuals receive very small compensation for the hours they tutor ESOL students. Above is a picture of Mr. Rohrer, a retired Math teacher from GMS, who works with my Prep (GED student) three times a week. He tutors this young man in Math/Science. Without Mr. Rohrer’s additional instruction, which fills this student’s academic gap of 4-5 years of non-schooling, this student would be unable to successfully pass his GED coursework. Mr. Rohrer doesn’t speak much Spanish and my student doesn’t speak much English. So, do they communicate? As you can see in the background, Mr. Rohrer has a laptop and my student has a laptop. They both communicate through Google Translate, by typing into the tool what they want to say. So far, this tool has provided sufficient enough services to allow both Mr. Rohrer and student to understand each other.

Thank you Mr. Rohrer for all that you do for my ESOL student at the Prep Academy! Your dedication and volunteer hours have enabled my student to successfully pass a large part of his GED coursework.

 

Adversity; Use of Schoology for Dialogue and Demonstrating Empathy

We are starting a new unit for both Grade 6 and 7 ESOL, which involves learning about Martin Luther King’s contribution to Civil Rights in the U.S. during the 1960′s. I have divided the unit into two parts.

Part 1: Introduce Unit with theme song, “Lean on Me.” Discuss the theme/central unit idea, which is “how adversity or difficult situation provide us life-building experiences.” Review key vocabulary, journal and writing activities (apply theme to their lives).

Part 2: Read Reading A-Z book “Martin Luther King Jr.” Use the reading strategy of summarizing to understand text, understand and identify cause-and-effect relationships, identify and recognize prefixes/suffixes/base form through the use of sticky note strategies (leaving marks in our book).

We have just wrapped up with Part 1 of this unit, and I would like to share one the journal activities my ESOL students completed. Students completed their journal entries on Schoology, which is an online collaborative interface where students can access lessons, share journals, make comments to each other, etc.

Students were asked to reflect on the song “Lean on Me” in which Bill Withers sings “Sometimes in our lives we all have pain. We all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.” Based on this message, I asked students to hone in on the topic of adversity in their writing, which was the key word for the unit. I asked students to journal about a time when they had adversity, pain, or sorrow in their own lives.  Students were asked to share what they did to be “wise” or to fix the problem.

Student’s journal responses were written on Schoology. Their stories were powerful and very personal. Schoology interface allows the entire class to access the writing/journaling of other classmates, they can read what each other say and respond (just as you would on FaceBook). A couple of my students shared stories related to immigrating to the United States; stories which involved poignant examples of adversity. In addition, several students shared stories about death and how they felt.

Using this topic of “adversity” was a wonderful way to share about painful experiences and to hear student’s voices. This provided a venue which allowed me to teach my students how they can demonstrate “empathy.” I believe that empathy is a learned behavior, an unknown skill set if students do not learn it at home. For this reason, I felt it important to directly teach students on how they can be empathetic. Following were some of the pointers I provided students in order to create empathetic responses.

  • Repeat something that someone has said or shared or ask a question. This shows empathy because it shows that we were truly listening.
  • Give a compliment to the person or say thank you for sharing. This shows empathy because we are reinforcing the fact that we appreciate that the person shared.
  • Give advise. This show empathy because it shows that you truly care about this person and that we want to help.
  • Say something nice and reassuring. This shows empathy because we are trying to comfort someone, again showing that we care.

I was so impressed by several of my students responses to each other on Schoology. Here are a couple student responses to a journal entry in which one of my students shared about her dog dying.

  • “Awwww so sad because your dog was everything for you :( :( Did you get another dog after Monkey died? What kind of dog was it?
  • “How did your dog got stuck in your door? Did your dog want to get inside of your house. I’ll find a way to help you.”

Here’s a student working on her “empathetic response” to a student entry. Overall, Part 1 of our “Martin Luther King; Civil Rights” unit has been a wonderful way for students to make personal connections to the subject of adversity. I found that Schoology was a wonderful platform and way in which students could share and empathize with each other!!!

Santa’s Christmas Miracle Field Trip

Our ESOL volunteer/tutor, Ms. Liz, organized a field trip for two of the GES ESOL families today to the Children’s Theater at Willow Lawn, where we all watched “Santa’s Christmas Miracle.” Ms. Liz’s insisted on covering all expenses of this outing as a Christmas present for all of us!!! This was also an opportunity to expose our ESOL families to the arts and culture. The outing was chaperoned by myself and the two ESOL mothers, along with their respective children (ESOL students).

What a blast we all had!!! Thanks Ms. Liz for an amazing holiday present!!! The event was topped off with a visit to see Santa, pictures with the cast of the play, along with lunch at Dairy Queen. Following are some pictures of our day!

 

ESOL Resource

Part of ESOL resource classes at GHS and GMS focus on study and test taking skills. In addition to this, these classes focus on organizational skills.

This past Friday, the last 15 minutes of class were devoted to organizational skills. I was delighted to watch one of my sixth grade students take over and help her classmate with organizing her backpack and binder. This student’s organization capabilities are definitely a strength. She proactively took over and cheerfully helped her classmate to organize all the materials from MP1.

What a delight both of these two young ladies students are:) Here is a picture of them hard at work.

Here’s a happy sixth grader-who now has a very organized binder and backpack, thanks to her classmate:)